The Headhunter’s Perspective – Running an Effective Resourcing Process

In today’s digitally disrupted and globally competitive world, resourcing is rapidly evolving. New technologies, social media, and LinkedIn are radically reshaping companies’ approach to candidate sourcing and are contributing to a broader shift in the recruitment market. Where yesterday it was employer-driven, tomorrow it will be candidate-led. Most employees are now passively seeking job opportunities at all times, and self-employment and entrepreneurialism are on the rise.

Yet despite all this change, the challenges of effective resourcing remain the same. For businesses, the challenge remains to attract and retain the exceptional talent that will be a key source of competitive advantage. But attracting exceptional talent is tough and requires careful relationship management, often over many years. Top people need to be identified, sometimes before they are looking for a role, and they need to be approached and managed in the right way. Achieving a successful outcome depends on high quality communication both at the start and throughout the search.

For headhunters, responsible for managing the relationship between candidates and hiring managers, the same familiar challenges include: lack of clarity about what the organisation is looking for and why; failing to get sufficient buy-in from the line at the start of the process; changing the process partway through; and poor candidate management.

But as with the challenges, the solutions that lead to effective resourcing also remain largely the same. Organisations must build a robust resourcing process and offer a high-quality candidate experience to attract and retain exceptional talent.

How can your organisation design a robust and effective resourcing process that prioritises an engaging candidate experience for today’s employment market? From the headhunter’s perspective, it is critical to:

  • Invest in defining a well-reasoned job profile up-front. Make sure key stakeholders are fully engaged with what you’re looking for and why before going to market. Candidates also value a well-defined profile as they know exactly what to expect.
  • Help manage candidates’ expectations by being honest with headhunters about the ‘good’, the ‘bad’, and the ‘ugly’ in the brief.
  • Design a clear and logical assessment process up-front and ascertain that the chosen selection methods effectively measure the factors identified in the job profile. Run the process consistently for all candidates. Don’t introduce extra interviewers at the eleventh hour, and avoid involving too many interviewers, as eventually someone won’t like the candidate.
  • Be wary of choosing ‘acceptability’ over ‘competence’. The nicest is not necessarily the best. Take time to get to know the real person. Candidates can ‘perform’ for an hour or so, but it usually takes longer for them to provide a more accurate portrayal of themselves.
  • If using psychometric tests, make sure you are clear what you are looking for and why. Run the tests early in the process, so the results can be used to differentiate between candidates, rather than just being a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for a final candidate. Involve someone in the process who has sufficient expertise to interpret test results correctly and to probe in later stage interviews with candidates.
  • Run structured assessments. Look for good evidence to support your conclusions about candidate fit.
  • Provide accurate and timely feedback that is relevant to the job profile. Candidates notice when they’re assessed against a well-defined profile; it makes it easier for them to prepare, and they are more inclined to accept feedback if they feel they’ve been fairly assessed against objective criteria. Feedback that is unrelated to what was discussed in the interview can have a negative impact on employer brand.
  • Continue to manage candidates well through post-offer stage – don’t just make the offer and hope they turn up for their first day in three months’ time. Keep them engaged and motivated by involving them in events and meetings before they join.
  • Share the data gathered through selection with the candidate once they join – not just why they got the job, but any reservations or gaps. This helps build a realistic development plan and increases the candidate’s awareness of his or her potential blind spots.

As you adapt your resourcing strategy to today’s employment market, always remember that resourcing is a two-way process. Everyone involved needs to present an appealing proposition to candidates. Exceptional candidates are likely to receive multiple offers, and the quality of the candidate experience will be a key factor influencing their decision of whether to accept your offer.

 

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